Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 23, 2016 18:00

Operational Period
October 23, 2016, 06:30 hours – October 23, 2016, 18:30 hours

Seaforth Channel, approximately 11nm west of Bella Bella

The Tug Nathan E. Stewart and Barge DBL 55 ran hard aground on the rocks at 10/13/16 (01:13 PDT). The unit was located in Canadian Waters at 52.14.46N, 128.23.160W at the entrance to Seaforth Channel. The tug remains aground on Athlone Island, approximately 11.5 miles from Bella Bella by water. The barge was empty of cargo and was moved to dry dock in Vancouver Harbour. CCG was present when barge arrived and spoke with the barge master, who advised that a minimal amount of fuel was trapped in some of the folded hull. As the vessel was being lifted by the dry dock trace amounts of oil was released. The Port of Vancouver confirmed that there was no recoverable product. The tug is aground in shallow water and is partially submerged. The tug was loaded with 59,924 US gallons of diesel fuel. Kirby was able to confirm that 6554 US gallons of diesel fuel were pumped from the tug into tank 3 port on the barge before the pumps failed due to water in the engine room. A manifest of additional liquids aboard at 90% capacity has been prepared, consisting of the following: 639 US gals lube oil, 550 US gals hydraulic oil, 550 US gals gear oil, 969 US gals dirty bilge.

• Ensure the safety of citizens and response personnel
• Control the source
• Secure the vessel and refloat/remove from the marine environment
• Maximize protection of environmentally-sensitive areas, prioritizing of sample collection
• Contain and recover spilled material
• Remove oil from impacted areas
• Recover and rehabilitate injured wildlife
• Manage coordinated response effort
• Keep the public & stakeholders informed of response activities
• Clear and consistent communication to the community
• Minimize economic impacts from the spill to the community and the environment
• Minimize local business interruption

Unified Command
Matt Lewis (Responsible Party Incident Commander)
Jess Housty (Heiltsuk On Scene Commander)
Philip Murdock (Canadian Coast Guard Federal Incident Commander)
John Kervel (BC Provincial On Scene Commander)


SAFETY (as of 08:00 hours, 23/10/16)
• At 14:30 a vessel, not associated with the response, encroached on the dive team within the containment boom and nearly caused an all-stop of operations. The CCGS Bartlett was able to contact the encroaching vessel and ask it to maintain a safe distance. The vessel promptly responded and dive operations were safe to continue.
• Safety protocols remain in place – as stated on previous situation reports.
• Footing issues have been reported at the Bella Bella fuel docks. Personnel are advised to be aware of footing and areas that could cause slips, trips and falls.

• The fisheries closure for bivalve shellfish fisheries in the Seaforth Channel and Gale Passage remains in place.
• For more information contact: Elysha Gordon 250-756-7192

• The ICP continues to operate out of the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council chambers.

• Staging is available at the Bella Bella fuel dock and at Shearwater.
• On-water staging of equipment has been on barges around the response site


23/10/16, 06:30 hours – 23/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 23/10/16, 08:00 hours)
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay actively skimmed within the vicinity of the casualty.
• The current buster also skimmed within the vicinity of the casualty, towed by the Strategic TJ and Namgis First Nation landing craft.
• Vessels continued to maintain protective boom within Gale Passage and ensure that debris did not compromise its integrity.
• Helo overflights at 10:00 hours showed the double deflection boom at the mouth of Gale Creek was in place and holding, as well as the primary and secondary containment boom around the casualty.
• NASP overflights at 10:00 and 14:00 hours measured 0.1 litres and 0.3 litres of product around the casualty. No oil sheen was observed in the Gale Creek area and no marine mammals were observed.
• The second NASP overflight at 14:00 hours was cut short due to an engine warning light which forced the air-craft to return to base in Port Hardy to address the issue.
• Divers splashed at 10:00 hours (23/10/16). They inspected the spent lube tank and found that the plumbing above the tank was damaged and the bottom of the tank was open to the seafloor below. It was confirmed that there was no product in the tank. Forward of this tank is the bilge water tank, which was also severely damaged. The plumbing above however was in-tact and required hot-tapping.
• At 13:05 hours dive teams started pumping from the bilge water tank. The content of this tank was confirmed by samplers to be water. Sampling teams were present on the Central Coaster.
• The dive team then moved to the Lube Oil tank and started pumping. By 13:12 the entire tank had been emptied and 1204 litres of a lube oil, sea-water mixture was collected. At 14:37 hours teams started to pump the Hydraulic Oil Tank and completed the task by 15:31. By 15:35 the dive team had started to pump the gear oil tank.
• A small pocket of un-verified petroleum product was released from underneath the deck combing of the Nathan E. Stewart. The pocket of product, which had gone unnoticed during inspection dives, escaped as a result of an accumulation of expelled air from the divers which displaced the product, releasing it to the surface. The product was effectively contained within the primary containment boom and as of 15:30 was collected with sorbent pads.
• An additional layer of 1500’ of kepner boom has not yet been placed around the casualty and will remain as an operational objective for tomorrow’s day-time operational period (24/10/16).
• The CCGS Bartlett maintained its position as on-scene coordinator throughout the day and will trade off with the CCGS Tully at 18:30 hours.
• CCGS Tully remained on stand-by in Bella Bella and prepped for night operations.
• The Bella Bella 1 continued to provide assistance with personnel transfers.

23/10/16, 18:30 hours – 24/10/16, 06:30 hours
• The Eagle Bay and GM Penman will remain on scene throughout the evening, monitoring the casualty and surrounding area with the FLIR camera. Both vessels will be prepared to skim if required.
• The Burrard Cleaner #4 and Strategic TJ will tend to the primary and secondary containment boom around the casualty and continue to pick up product with sorbent pads.
• The CCGS Tully will provide on-scene coordination and support to on-water ops.
• The CCGS Bartlett will remain on stand-by and provide communication support to the CCGS Tully.
• The Central Coaster will be moved from the casualty site to Norman Morrison Cove, where it will be prepped for salvage operations.



23/10/16, 06:30 hours – 23/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 23/10/16, :00 hours)
• Pre-SCAT surveys occurred along the south shoreline of Seaforth Channel, west of the casualty.
• Scat teams had representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.

23/10/16, 18:30 hours – 24/10/16, 06:30 hours
• SCAT crews will not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.



23/10/16, 06:30 hours – 23/10/16, 18:30 HOURS
(CURRENT OPREATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 23/10/16, 18:30 hours)
• Wildlife teams completed surveys of Gale Pass and the south shore of Seaforth Channel, west of the casualty. No new wildlife casualties were observed today.
• The wildlife team visited the Gale Pass Lagoon to collect the seven deceased crabs and a lingcod that were observed yesterday (22/10/16). However, only the seven deceased crabs were found and collected. The team could not locate the lingcod.

23/10/16, 18:30 hours – 24/10/16, 06:30 hours
• Wildlife teams will not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.


• Sampling teams collected tissue, sediment, water and vegetation samples along south Seaforth Channel shoreline, Gale Creek Proper east, Gale Creek proper west, Troupe and Gunboat. All 204 assignments were completed for the 06:30, 23/10/16 – 18:30, 23/10/16 operational period.
• BC Ministry of Environment will continue to work with Heiltsuk Nation, supported by Environment Canada in the Environment Unit.
• Environment Canada will continue to support contingency planning for hot tapping and pumping operations with trajectory modeling in the event of a release.
• BC Ministry of Environment is participating with Heiltsuk and Kirby to develop the Sampling Plan and Monitoring Plan; which will be submitted to Unified Command for review.

• Spill information website has been activated

Seaforth Channel Site Specific Forecast

Forecast Issue Time: 18:00 PM PDT 23/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 18:00 hours on the 23rd of October:
A low will approach the BC coast from the south on Monday giving increasing outflow winds to the Central Coast inlets. Winds will rise to gale to storm force easterlies offshore by dawn Tuesday morning. Gale force winds are likely to approach the coast as they veer to the southeast on Tuesday.

Seaforth Channel Weather: On scene update at 16:00 PM 23/10/16
Winds: SxE 5-10 kts,
Sea: clam with ripples
Beaufort sea state: 2
Visibility: 10+ NM
Air temp: 12.4°C
Barometer: 1009.5 mbar and steady
Skies: medium height clouds 4/8

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 16:00 PM PDT 23 October 2016
A low off Langara Island late this afternoon will move off to the west this evening while weakening. East to southeast gales to 45 knots near the low will ease later today and this evening. A stronger low moving northward will lie over Southwestern Explorer Monday evening. Winds will rise to storm force east to southeast ahead of the low.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 16:00 PM PDT, 23 October 2016
Gale warning in effect. Wind southeast 20 to 30 knots increasing to east 35 to 45 Monday evening.


Issued at 16:00 PM PDT, 23 October 2016
Today Tonight and Monday Seas 2 to 3 metres subsiding to 2 near midnight.


Issued 16:00 PM PDT, 23 October 2016
Tonight and Monday periods of rain ending early this evening. Periods of rain beginning early Monday afternoon.


Issued 16:00 PM PDT 23 October 2016
Tuesday Wind southeast 30 to 40 knots.
Wednesday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southeast 15 to 25.
Thursday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots.

Issued 16:00 PM PDT 23 October 2016
‘Gale’ force winds of 34 to 47 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area. Watch for updated statements. Please refer to the latest marine forecasts for further details and continue to monitor the situation through Canadian Coast Guard radio or Weatheradio stations.